34 Effects of Deforestation on Land Surface Air Temperature in Eastern China

Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Rooftop Ballroom (Omni Parker House)
Mi Zhang, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China; and X. Lee, G. Yu, S. Han, J. Yan, and Y. Zhang

Handout (180.5 kB)

Forests affect land surface air temperature through biogeochemical and biogeophysical processes (Bonan, 2008). Climate models of continental-scale deforestation in boreal and temperate zones suggest that land clearing cool the local air temperature through biogeophysical processes (Betts 2000, Bala et al., 2007). This cooling effect was verified by field observation in North America (Lee et al., 2011). Moreover, this cooling effect, expressed as temperature difference ÄT between forest sites and adjacent open lands, decreases from high latitude to low latitude. The eastern Asian monsoon makes the climate in Eastern China differ from those in Europe and North America. A vegetation sequence exists along the North-South Transect of Eastern China (NSTEC) from the north to the south (Yu et al., 2008). In this study, we investigate the effects of deforestation on local land surface air temperature along this transect where currently there are 4 forest eddy covariance sites, including Changbaishan temperate mixed forest, Qianyanzhou subtropical coniferous plantation, Dinghushan subtropical evergreen broadleaved forest, and Xishuangbanna tropical rainforest. Comparison is made of the surface air temperature measured by the forest towers and that in the adjacent surface weather stations. As in Lee et al. (2011), we use surface weather stations as proxies for small cleared land. This study seeks to answer three questions: (1) Is the surface air temperature in the open land lower than that in the forest? (2) How does ÄT vary seasonally and interannually? and (3) Does ÄT change with latitude?
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